Russian deputy PM 'surprised' by 'high' gas prices in Bulgaria

Russian deputy PM 'surprised' by 'high' gas prices in Bulgaria

Russian deputy prime minister Victor Zubkov, who is chairperson of the board at state-owned Gazprom, said on July 6 that he was 'surprised' by the 'high' price that end-consumers in Bulgaria were asked to pay for Russian gas, Bulgarian media reported.Zubkov was in Sofia to discuss the status of Russia's joint energy projects with Bulgaria and met with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov earlier in the day."The gas price in Bulgaria is causing us a certain degree of disquiet, because we sell to Bulgaria at a low price, but household and industrial consumers are paying much more," Zubkov was quoted as saying by Dnevnik daily at a media briefing following his meeting with Borissov.According to Zubkov, Gazprom sells gas to a trio of intermediaries at $339 for 1000 cubic metres, but the price charged to consumers was $576. "We think that those prices are abnormally high, and the Bulgarian Prime Minister has promised that by July 8 he will clarify what is causing the discrepancy," Zubkov said.Borissov said that Bulgarian experts were unable to explain the reason for the discrepancy, but threatened to send the State Agency for National Security to the "middlemen" to look into the matter.Gazprom does not sell gas directly to Bulgaria's state-owned company Bulgargaz, but through three companies - Overgas Inc, Wintershall and Gazpromexport. Gazprom owns stakes in each of the three companies.

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